The House Republican nominating conference for Speaker of the House began just after 10:00 a.m. this morning. The first order of business was consideration of a Chip Roy amendment to Conference rules requiring that the Speaker-nominee reach 218 votes in Conference before advancing to the House floor. This amendment was widely viewed as an obstacle to a speedy conclusion of the Speaker vacancy.
As such, Majority Leader Steve Scalise had been working to defeat the amendment with the help of his allies. That effort proved successful as the House Republican Conference passed a motion to table the Roy amendment by a reported 135-88 vote.
Following nominating speeches for the two Speaker candidates, Leader Scalise and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, the Conference is now proceeding with the vote for Speaker by secret ballot. As we have previously noted, the Scalise team is bullish on their ability to win a majority of the Conference and then consolidate the Jordan supporters.
It remains therefore possible that the Speaker election may take place on the House floor later today.
Steve Scalise has been elected as the House Republican Conference’s Speaker nominee by a reported vote of 113-99-12.
As we have previously mentioned, Scalise has spoken to Jim Jordan’s supporters in the lead up to today’s Conference vote and asked for their commitment on the House floor. The Scalise team indicates that they have not run into any individual objections thus far, including amongst the eight Members who voted in favor of the motion to vacate last week.
This is a key factor in Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry’s decision to bring the House back into session for the election of Speaker of the House. The House will meet today at 3:00 p.m. in pro forma session. It remains to be determined whether the Speaker election will happen at that time.
As a reminder, representatives of the two Parties will nominate a candidate for Speaker on the House floor (i.e., Steve Scalise and Hakeem Jeffries). The House will then commence with a manual roll call vote in alphabetical order. To be elected Speaker, a nominee must obtain an absolute majority of those Members present and voting. Given the two vacancies in the House, that number stands at 217 assuming no absences.
Should Steve Scalise be sworn in today as Speaker, the House Republican Conference will schedule an election for to fill the position of Majority Leader. Should Tom Emmer win the position (he remains the favorite), the House Republican Conference would then schedule an election for Majority Whip (with Guy Reschenthaler as the favorite).
Members have been informed that no votes will take place in the House today, meaning the House will go for at least one more day without a permanent Speaker.
At this point, Speaker-elect Steve Scalise is working to shore up those Members who have announced publicly (or privately) that they are voting for another candidate on the House floor (or are undecided). It is unlikely that the election for Speaker will take place until Scalise locks up at least 217 votes internally. Assuming full attendance, Scalise can only afford to lose four Republicans on the floor.
As has been the case all Congress, the House Republican Conference faces significant internal disagreements over its Leadership and policy direction. Given the acute issues that Congress must weigh-in on (e.g., government funding, Israel response, border security, Ukraine funding, and many more), a Speaker-less House creates a public policy vacuum.
We will continue to keep you updated.